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Chapter Seven

THE Su brothers arrived at the capital in 1069, in the second year of
Shining, in the reign of Shentsung, the "Divine Emperor". From
that year on, China was to be plunged into a wave of new social experi-
ments amid political storms whose concussions were felt to the very
end of the Sung dynasty. This was the last of China's experiments in
state capitalism, though by no means the first. In the four thousand
years of China's history, four great political experiments in totali-
tarianism, state capitalism, socialism, and drastic social reforms were
attempted, and each of these failed miserably. The most successful one
was the Fascist totalitarianism of the philosopher Shang Yang, whose
theories were effectively carried out by the first emperor of Chin, the
builder of the Great Wall (third century B.C.). The outstanding two
principles of this early fascist theory were the glorification of war and
soldiery and the promotion of agriculture, but the two were really one
because Shang Yang believed that peasants made the best soldiers and
that all business-men and traders of the bourgeois class should be sup-
pressed as far as possible. As is well known, the powerful military
machine built up and developed according to these doctrines enabled
Chin to establish a dictatorship over all China; but as soon as such a
theory of government was applied to the whole of the Chinese Empire, 
it dramatically collapsed within a few years.

Two other drastic reforms were attempted under Emperor Wu of the
Han Dynasty and under Wang Mang, in the second century B.C. and
the first century A.D. respectively. The first, following the finance theory
of state capitalism of Sang Hungyang, successfully enriched the
Emperor's treasury for his extensive wars, but was rescinded because
it ended in a near rebellion; the second, under the usurper Wang Mang,
ended when the usurper was overthrown. That Wang Anshih failed
now in the fourth experiment is, therefore, no surprise. But in each
of these four great new experiments, the idea started from an original
thinker who was willing to make a complete break with the past and
who combined the strength of his convictions with great determination
of character. It is an interesting fact that Wang Anshih was an admirer
- of the fascist philosopher Shang Yang and wrote a poem pleading for
a better understanding of this man. At the same time it must be noted
that never was a totalitarian theory advanced, in ancient or modern
days, without the basic appeal that it was for the good of the state and
of the common people. How many political crimes have been com-